LONDON (AP) — Formula One driver Sergio Perez announced Wednesday he is leaving the Racing Point team after this season, opening the door for Sebastian Vettel to replace him.

Perez posted a statement on social media saying that “after seven years together, my time with the team will come to an end after the season.”

Vettel had already been linked with a move to Racing Point, which will be rebranded as as Aston Martin next season, and Perez’s departure could pave the way for the four-time F1 champion.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of this season but has yet to sign with a new team.

Racing Point’s other driver is Lance Stroll, the son of co-owner Lawrence Stroll, who is keeping his seat for next season.

Perez, 30, played a key role in helping Racing Point, previously known as Force India, from going out of business in 2018.

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“It hurts a bit as I bet on the team during very rough times. We managed to overcome obstacles and I am very proud of saving the jobs of several of my teammates,” Perez said. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity given to me by (former owner) Vijay Mallya, who believed in me in 2014 and allowed me to continue my F1 career with Force India.”

Vettel will be replaced by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next year.

Perez said he will look for a new team, with Alfa Romeo and Haas seen as possible options.

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